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CMS Aims to Increase Oversight of Medicare Accrediting Organizations

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday announced three efforts to strengthen oversight of Medicare accrediting organizations (AOs).

Health care providers and suppliers that participate in Medicare must be surveyed by a state survey agency or one of 10 CMS-approved AOs. The survey ensures providers and suppliers meet CMS’ quality and safety standards.

To increase transparency, CMS will post AO performance data online, including quality-of-care deficiency findings and a list of noncompliant providers.

Additionally, the agency will pilot direct observation for AO validation surveys. CMS previously evaluated AOs by surveying a sample of facilities, administering a state-conducted assessment survey within 60 days, and comparing the results of these two surveys. The pilot program will replace the second state-run assessment with direct observation during the original AO-conducted survey. The agency also will incorporate state complaint investigations of accredited facilities into AO performance evaluations.

Finally, CMS has published online its “Report to Congress: Review of Medicare’s Program for Oversight of Accrediting Organizations and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Validation Program Fiscal Year 2017.” The agency will continue to publish its report each year.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.